The entire season comes down to one game. This Sunday April 4, 2021 the Arizona Wildcats will face the Stanford Cardinals to determine who is the best women's basketball team in the nation. On both sides NorCal legends are playing. For Stanford star Haley Jones will suit up alongside another NorCal legend Hannah Jump. For Arizona star senior Aarion McDonald will suit up to try and lead her team to victory. To really know how important these players are for their teams a deep dive into their past and current season must be done.
Hannah Jump - Guard - Sophomore - Pinewood High (Los Altos Hills,CA)
In high school Hannah Jump was a top 50 player in the nation, shooting over 42.1% from three in her high school career. In high school Jump was a four-time All-West Bay Athletic League first team, team captain in 2018-2019, and also played club for the Cal Stars. Her ability to knock down the outside shot has transferred into college. In her freshman year she shot 41.3% from three, made at least three 3-pointers in seven games, and 83% of her total shots came from deep. Jump is only one of five players to hit eight threes in one game and finish the season with 43 made threes which ranks sixth in Stanford freshman history. This season Jump has come off of the bench ready to shoot, making five threes in one game, and scoring a season high 17 points against Missouri State in the Sweet 16. Jump has shown flashes of her scoring ability in the tournament and has been looked to for her shooting ability. Heading into the NCAA championship game if her number is called Jump will come into the game ready to catch and shoot.
Haley Jones - Guard - Sophomore - Archbishop Mitty (San Jose,CA)
Ranked as the best player in the nation by both ESPN HoopGurlz and Prospects Nation Jones was the first number one prospect to commit to Stanford since 2009. Jones has a cabinet of accolades including being a McDonald's All-American (2019), Jordan Brand Classic All-American (2019), Naismith Trophy Girls' High School Player of the Year (2019), WBCA High School Player of the Year (2019), Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year (2019), USA TODAY High School Sports First Team All-American (2019), first in school history in career field goal percentage (.638) and fourth in rebounds (1,046), two-time California Gatorade Player of the Year (2018, 2019), two-time San Francisco Chronicle Metro Player of the Year (2018, 2019), and Cal-Hi Sports State Girls Athlete of the Year. After joining Stanford Jones has not disappointed as she was named PAC-12 Freshman of the week three times, started in 13 of 18 games before an injury, scored in double digits 11 times, and even posted a double-double against the UC Davis Aggies. This season and in the tournament Jones has hit a whole different level. As a sophomore she has put the team on her back, most notably scoring 24 points in the Final Four in a one-point game against South Carolina. If Stanford wants to win it all Jones will need to be able to score the ball, grab rebounds, and facilitate for her team.
Ranked as one of the best teams all season Stanford is the favorite to win it all this year.
Aarion McDonald - Guard - Senior - Brookside Christian High (Stockton,CA)
Better known as “Aari'', McDonald was ranked as the 51st best player in the country and the seventh-ranked point guard by prospectnation.com. McDonald, whose hometown is Fresno, attended Brookside Christian High School where she racked up honors of MaxPreps All-State Third Team in California, first-team selection for Division IV, and the Stockton Record All-Area Player of the Year. As a senior McDonald seems to have received every college award possible. This season has been a year to remember for McDonald, who scored a season high 33 against Indiana and has averaged 19.3 ppg this year. During the tournament McDonald has played possibly the best basketball of her life. Since the tournament started McDonald has not scored below 15 points in a game and has scored above 30 points twice in the tournament. If the Wildcats want to win this game, they need McDonald to score 20, maybe even 30+ points.
All odds are against McDonald and the Wildcats, but in a win-or-go-home game like March Madness anything is possible.
At the end of the day no matter who wins at least one NorCal woman will bring glory to Northern California.